Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Terrifying Night

I've always had lower back issues, in fact, both of my parents and my brother do too.  It runs in the family. Since December 2011, my lower back began to seriously act up, more so than I could ever remember. On Valentine's Day I had my first lumber steroid injection.  It lasted for about two weeks and then the pain came back. About five weeks later I scheduled another. The day before the second injection, my right two toes, the right side of my foot, my heel, ankle, calf and right butt cheek, started to feel numb and tingly. Not fun at all. I did the second shot and while it did mask the back pain, what it did not mask was the sciatic nerve pain that only grew worse with each passing day.

On March 29th, my husband and I met with my doctor to discuss possible back surgery.  The numbness in my right leg and foot had me develop a sort of limp which made walking uncomfortable and then I started having pain in other areas of my body for compensating for the limp. We left the doctor's office, talked about the surgery and the next day I called to schedule and for some reason, no one called me back even after I left two messages. With the unfolding of the events that followed, I believe God was working in Her ways. 

Even though I wasn't able to schedule surgery, I did get a new prescription for pain, 5 mg of vicoden. FINALLY!  No more tramadol because that was like taking a tic tac for pain. 9pm rolled around and I went upstairs to bed, took one vicoden and off to dreamland I went.

The nerve pain was so intense that it woke me up at 3am.  I checked the clock and knew I was able to now take another vicoden as 6 hours had passed.  But the pain was excruciating. I needed to get out of bed and my husband must have fallen asleep on the sofa.  So I called his cell and told him he needed to get upstairs and get me out of bed as I was in unbelievable pain.

Todd came running up the stairs to our bedroom, turned on the light, and came to my bedside. We did the count, 1, 2, 3 and pulled me up out of bed to a standing position. Even though my feet were on the floor, I had to further support my body by leaning my arms on the bed. All of a sudden, I was sweating as if I just ran for 30 minutes at a pretty good pace. It was dripping off my face. Then the nausea ensued and I felt sick, really sick and dizzy.  I kept telling Todd that I was going to faint. And with that, I passed out.  Luckily, he was standing behind me to catch me.  I opened my eyes to find myself on the floor, in Todd's arms and hearing him call my name, 'Stephanie! Stephanie! Wake up!  Stay with me! Stephanie!'

Focusing on nothing but his voice, I tried to calm myself down.  Little did I know that poor Todd thought I had taken 3, not 1 vicoden.  This is something that I would never do, no matter how much pain I was in. It was hard to convince him of this as I was lying in his arms but I did. By a miracle of God, he got me up and we made it down the stairs and into the kitchen. My tee shirt was soaked with sweat and I was craving water and a cold compress to place on the back of my neck. Both of which helped to bring the color back to my face. Todd later told me that when I fainted my coloring was gray.  Kind of scary.

The pain was still intense and I looked at Todd and told him I needed to go to the hospital. At 4am, we walked into the Emergency Room at Reading Hospital. I couldn't sit and could barely walk, so they grabbed a gurney for me and I was able to lay down. No more than 10 minutes and I was back being seen by a very friendly doctor who ordered tons of blood work, an EKG and a very welcome pain killer that is 6 times stronger then morphine called dilaudid.   Finally, I had some relief but could still feel the pain of that sciatic nerve. About two hours later, I was given another dose of dilaudid and finally, one of my spine doctors came to visit me as part of his rounds.

He ordered up a steroid that typically gets prescribed for patients that have brain tumors.  As the nurse was injecting it into my IV, I immediately felt like I was going to vomit and then it felt like there were 50,000 little needles pricking my genital area.  Not fun.  I looked at my doctor because I began to get scared and he just old me to take deep breaths which I did, and I felt better. Upon me telling him the story of passing out from the pain, he contemplated keeping me overnight for pain management purposes.  But they decided not to.  Instead, my surgery was scheduled for 3 days later and I was finally dismissed from the hospital after about 8-9 hours. 

And my journey continued from there...

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